Letter: Voting on Screens

On Aug. 2, the New York State Board of Elections certified the ExpressVote XL Universal Voting System, which uses a touch screen to produce a paper ballot. It is unbelievable that the Board of Elections would do this.

For over 10 years we have voted using an optical scan/paper ballot machine that voters mark and place in a tallying machine themselves. Then we observe as the paper ballot is dropped into a metal box. It is easy to vote and we know that our paper ballot can be recounted manually, if necessary, at a later date.

The ExpressVote XL Universal Voting System

The ExpressVote XL Universal Voting System

We have heard about all the problems that states have encountered with voting on computers and that many have determined to change to a paper ballot system that we have in New York.

So why would we abandon a good system for one that is more complicated, more expensive and less transparent? I would encourage counties to say “no” to ExpressVote XL and continue to use the optical scan/paper ballot machine.

It took New York State a long time to choose scanning/paper ballots over the use of computer voting, and it proved to be the right decision, then and now. It takes voters some time to get used to a new system and trust the process, which is what happens when you have your marked ballot in your hands and not on a screen.

Some people, when they vote, take more time to make selections. A long line could develop at the touch-screen machine as people take their time, which means the company sells more machines to the counties — costing taxpayers more money.

We need voters to be confident that their votes are counted, and computers do not build on that confidence when we hear so often about hacking. I have heard that voters like the process we have and feel that there is no pressure to rush their vote when they individually mark the ballot.

Please make your voices heard with your county and state legislators so we can stop this voting change in its tracks and protect the security of our votes. In this case, simple voting is best.

Sandy Galef, Ossining

Galef is a former longtime member of the state Assembly and member of its Election Law Committee; her district included Philipstown.

2 thoughts on “Letter: Voting on Screens

  1. Thank you to Sandy for her challenge to touch-screen voting. One of my fondest memories was meeting with her as a representative of New Yorkers for Verified Voting, along with League of Women Voters and other voting-integrity activists, as we supported legislation she sponsored to make New York a hand-marked paper ballot state. She is a great advocate for the importance of accurately counting our votes.

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